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Community plan designed for success

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Having had my policymaking life transformed forever with our #MadeinLambeth brainstorming challenge, it has been hard to beat the rush of excitement that a genuinely new way of working brings. One thing that has matched it is the success of our Public Sector by Design programme.

Working with the Design Council, it is all about engaging people. Using design principles, the community has come up with a range of solutions we, alone, never would have.

I don’t think many places can beat @LambethPoly - our communities’ very own estate-based vegetable growing polytunnel, where community members are growing and selling produce to local outlets.

This all started with a kick-off workshop where our officers, partners and members of the community, formed a ‘diagonal dozen’ to learn about ‘service’ and customer experience and to identify issues and solutions.

They visited local fruit and vegetable markets and used these experiences to record both ‘magic’ and ‘miserable’ moments - mapping the customer journey.

This produced 96 ideas that filtered down to six for delivery. These include:

  • Using green and growing spaces in traffic calming schemes and using ‘green screens’ and planters instead of build-outs
  • Using a ‘BBQ bicycle’ to take jobseeking support to the areas where people hang out, using free BBQ food as an incentive to engage them
  • Supporting jobseekers identified via the BBQ bikes to develop the skills needed to sustain employment such as conflict resolution and time management
  • Holding workshops to help people identify the skills they can share with neighbours to build a sense of community
  • Providing a space for business start-ups where mentoring is available
  • Setting up a polytunnel on the estate to develop growing skills, increase food resilience and supply locally grown veg commercially.

My head of service came into work this morning, having spent an hour on her way in helping to harvest green leaf salad.

Sophia Looney, director policy, equalities and performance, Lambeth LBC

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